Not only did I hit the gym this morning, but I also hit the range for some practice.
While I enjoy live fire work, I have to remember that the work comes in dry-fire practice and all live fire is is validation. Where am I doing well? Where am I improving? Where do I still suck? Where do I need work? It’s also a time to explore, experiment, and push.
Karl’s been pushing me towards getting my USPSA classification (finally). I’m on the road to “B” class, and I must admit it’s been showing me a lot of things where I just suck and have room to improve. The particular things Karl’s had me working on have certainly improved my skills already, but much of that’s been doing stuff from a gaming rig (holster, pouches, etc.). Today, I wanted to see how well those skills were translating back to my carry gear.
This past Sunday before class I had a little time so I went to the steel range and worked on my drawstroke. I set up on a 12″ steel plate at 10 yards, set the timer to a random start, and off I went. I was consistently getting 1.4 second draws from IWB holster and concealment (rip up my shirt). I could push and get 1.2 or 1.3 draws, but inconsistent. Sometimes I missed my grip, so while the index then was good, the gun was out of alignment and I’d miss. Or the converse, that I’d realize the gun was off, take the moment to adjust, and then get a 1.5-1.6 draw. And sometimes I just went faster than my eyes would handle it. But really, I’m happy with this because that sort of draw time is something I’ve been striving for — at any distance, on any size target — and just haven’t been consistent in nailing. So I’m getting there. A large part of it is certainly due to working from the gaming rig and getting those 0.9-1.0 second draws at 3-5 yards to the A-Zone. So I’m pleased.
So coming into today’s session, I wanted to shoot drills where points and time affected score. So things like Comstock or Vickers count, etc..
Started with the 3M Test, which is a favorite diagnostic. I actually did pretty crappy here. I was getting OK draws (e.g. 1.6-ish), about .25 splits, about 1.75-ish on the malfunction, but then the reloads would run 3-4 seconds. BLAH. I can do this drill in 8 seconds, but was not doing it today. I spent some time looking at what one could shoot this in, and rough numbers… a 6? I only did rough figuring, but point is that one can do this much faster. Granted, according to Tom’s scoring, shooting it clean in 10.5 seconds (125 score) is “very high skill”, so I’m exceeding the top-end scoring here… but still, I’d like to work on getting this drill down to 7 seconds. While I certainly can work on shaving time off on the draw, the splits, etc., the biggest time-sink for me is the reload.
There will be a theme.
I switched to shoot the Gila Hayes 5×5 drill just to give me some perspective. That was fine, and I did it with the Claude Werner “and do it 5 times”.
I then went on to the Rangemaster Core Skills. I scored a 98 on it (par is 100). But this is a big improvement over the last time I shot it (80). I ran into similar issues here, that I can pick up a little time here and there by getting my draw and splits down a little bit (e.g. I was creeping up on 0.4-0.5 splits as the distance increased, and about 1 second splits at 15 and 25). But more than these little things, it’s some bigger things, like the reload. As well, drawing at longer distances, because I’d take too long to set up at 15 and 25 yards.
Before I called it a day, I shot the Rangemaster Instructor Qualification. Got a 240 out of 250 (25 yards – my nemesis).
So, much to take from this in terms of what to work on:
- Continue to work on my drawstroke. At shorter distances, continue to reinforce the mental picture of what an acceptable sight picture is. Work more at longer distances to find that sight picture. While I should work some at 25 yards and such, I think right now focusing 7, 10, and 15 yards is enough.
- As well in the drawstroke, work on nailing the grip, maintaining a crushing grip throughout. When I did the SHO and WHO shooting, I was crushing the hell out of the gun, and while I was a little slow (because I was focusing hard on ensuring sights and trigger), I only dropped 1 WHO shot — grip grip grip. Crush hard.
- Do more 25 yard group shooting.
- Reloads. Reloads. Reloads. If there’s any place I could make a dramatic improvement in my times, it’s here.
So in terms of dry work, I think the next couple weeks will focus on draw on various size targets, especially those simulating 7-15 yards. And reloads, reloads, reloads.
BTW I should say, what’s my goal in all of this?
I’d like to get to USPSA “A” class. I could be wrong in this — and please correct me if I am — but my assessment feels like “A” class is pretty good for my situation. What then comes for “M” and “GM” is being able to be consistent, and consistent in playing the game. That is, “A” class has really good skills overall. But now you need to apply them within the context of the game: stage planning, and other “gaming” aspects. Plus the time and dedication to put into developing and progressing towards this very specific end. Nothing against those things, but it’s not my interest right now. Of course I say this and who knows — I get to “A” and then I may just feel the thirst for “M”. I mean, I wasn’t motivated to get my classification at all, but now that I’m on the road for it and seeing what I’m learning from it… gee if I ain’t anything but motivated to get there. Either way, gotta get to “A” first, so first things first.